Jakarta. Following the commercial success of the film "Habibie & Ainun," MD Pictures has decided to make a second attempt at telling the story of former Indonesian President Bacharudin Jusuf Habibie in a prequel named "Rudy Habibie."
Starring Reza Rahadian in the title role, the movie follows Habibie as he arrives at the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen in Germany in 1955 to study aviation and aerospace engineering. He obtained an engineering degree five years later and proceeded to stay in Germany and work as a teaching assistant while conducting research for his doctoral degree.
The movie then portrays his involvement in the Indonesian Student Association (PPI), in which he tried to map the future of the country's aerospace industry, as well as his relationship with a German girl of Polish descent, Ilona (Chelsea Islan).
Speaking at a press screening at CGV Blitz Grand Indonesia in Central Jakarta on Friday (24/06), director Hanung Bramantyo said the challenge lies on creating a different feel and perspective from "Habibie & Ainun," which achieved a smashing record of 4.5 million viewers in 2012.
The first biopic, directed by Faozan Rizal, is currently the second-best-selling Indonesian movie since 2007, just behind "Laskar Pelangi" ("The Rainbow Troops"), which was seen by 4,6 million cinemagoers.
"The first movie made such a huge impact on our audience, so we needed to take another perspective. After my discussion with Gina [S. Noer, scriptwriter], we decided to make a movie that can encourage the young generation," he said.
Hanung added that he was surprised when producer Manoj Punjabi asked him to tell the story of a young Habibie.
"But then I learned that he did what all the young people are doing, which is trying to make their dreams come true. Rudy Habibie is such a huge figure to portray, way bigger than the movie itself. And he is surrounded by inspiring people such as Ilona and his best friend Liem Keng Kie," Hanung said.
The movie is an adaptation of "Rudy," a book by Gina who also wrote the script for the movie. The writer said the research for "Rudy" was not as complicated as the first installment.
"The most difficult thing is to set an angle for the story. So we decided to do it from a youngster's point of view," she said.
All characters in the movie are based on real people, but Gina added some fictional elements to their personalities. For example, Ilona is depicted as being fluent in the Indonesian language, while in reality, she is not.
"But it is true that she is one of Habibie's biggest supporters during his time in Germany, and she also loves Indonesia," she said.
Producer Manoj Punjabi said he hopes the biopic would serve as a reflection on Indonesia's culture and identity, as well as be an entertaining flick.
"Rudy Habibie" is set to open in theaters nationwide on June 30.